On May 18, the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Crimean Tatar Genocide and the Day of Struggle for the Rights of the Crimean Tatars are marked.
On this day in 1944, the Soviet government began an operation to deport the Crimean Tatar population from the Crimean peninsula.
Deportation of Crimean Tatars: Facts
On May 11, 1944, the State Defense Committee passed Resolution No. 5859ss On the Crimean Tatars.
It contained allegations against the Crimean Tatars who were accused of mass treason and collaboration ith the enemy in WW2, which was supposed to justify deportation. At the same time, there is no evidence of "mass desertion" of Crimean Tatar men from the Soviet army, while most collaborators died in battles or were individually convicted.
Read alsoU.S. reports on Russia's heavy weapons deployed in occupied CrimeaThe forced eviction of the Crimean Tatars began at 03:00 on May 18 and ended on May 20. The deportees were given from several minutes to half an hour to pack. They were able to take an average of 20-30 kg of belongings and some food with them, leaving most of their property behind, to be later confiscated by government.
Some 32,000 NKVD operatives were involved in the campaign. Within two days, the Crimean Tatars were brought to railway stations of Bakhchisarai, Dzhankoy, and Simferopol, to be sent eastwards, to mainland Russia by rail.
- During these two days, as per Soviet authorities, more than 183,000 Crimean Tatars were deported from Crimea. Official statistics are questionable, while also giving an idea of the number of people expelled.
- The deportation had disastrous consequences for the indigenous population of the peninsula, as it led to thousands of deaths caused by famine and disease.
- The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in November 2015 recognized the 1944 deportation as genocide of the Crimean Tatar people, and May 18 was designated as Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Crimean Tatar People's Genocide.
- Today, the aggressor power, Russia, having occupied Crimea in 2014, continues to violate the rights of the Crimean Tatars on the peninsula.